After the Harker Heights baseball team put itself in position last Friday to clinch a playoff berth, the Knights cashed in on that opportunity Tuesday.
Daniel Cole threw a complete-game one-hitter in a 2-0 triumph at home over San Angelo Central a week ago, as he walked three and struck out eight.
Harker Heights then played at Killeen on Tuesday and captured a 10-4 victory to ensure itself a spot in the Class 6A postseason for the fifth straight season.
Jacob Mitchell impacted the contest against the Kangaroos with both his arm and his bat. The senior right-hander threw six innings and allowed three runs on three hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Mitchell also went 3 for 3 at the plate with a triple, two doubles, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Justin Gordon pitched the seventh for the Knights to cap off the win, allowing one unearned run on two walks with a strikeout.
Zane Wallace was 2 for 4 for Harker Heights with a double, two RBIs and one run scored.
Wallace has been coming on of late and supplying quality at-bats in the eighth spot of the Knights’ batting order. He was also 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI last Friday against Central.
“Wallace came through big again tonight,” Harker Heights head coach Randy Culp said. “He kind of carried that over from Friday. He’s been really hot and has been hitting the ball well.”
Mitchell agreed with his coach’s sentiment.
“Everyone was hitting the ball behind me and giving me run support — especially Zane,” Mitchell said. “He’s one of my closest friends, and he came through big. He told me before the game that he had me, and he showed up tonight with the bat.
“It meant a lot for him to go out there and help put those runs on the board for me.”
Mitchell struggled a bit at times with his command against Killeen, throwing 62 of 108 pitches for strikes. But each time he got in a jam, he found a way out of it with limited damage.
“I was real proud of him,” Culp said. “He wasn’t as efficient as we’d like him to be, as far as his pitch count goes. The pitch count limit is a tough deal, though.
“Our defense also played well tonight. We didn’t have any errors, and you love that. Go out there and play error-free baseball, and I just can’t say enough about Jacob.
“He smoked it tonight at the plate, too, and he does that often. He can hit the ball the other way well, and I’m proud of the way he came out and performed tonight.”
The Knights (12-13-1, 9-4 District 8-6A) are scheduled to finish the regular season at home tonight against Killeen at 7 p.m.
Harker Heights has assured itself of at least the league’s third seed and is just one game behind Waco Midway (18-8-1, 10-3) and Central (20-10, 10-3) for first place entering play this evening.